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:: GARDENING TIPS & ADVICE ::

Feel free to e-mail any questions to Lilyfishpond@aol.com and I will reply directly to you. If you have any suggestions, findings, ideas or other helpful pond tips I would appreciated to hear these also. A pond is an ever -changing , living environment and there are always new things to be discovered about pond keeping!

Before you start to dig your pond, select your site carefully. Choose an area of the yard that would be enhanced by the addition of water. Plant-ponds should be constructed in areas allowing as much sunlight as possible. For best blooming results, the more sun the better. Outline your pond shape with a rope on the ground. Vary it until you find one that pleases you. You can use a preformed fiberglass pool or place a flexible rubber liner directly over the excavated area. We recommend planting plants in tubs rather than directly in the bottom of the pool .They can be relocated at will and easily removed for replanting and fertilizing. Ponds should be at least 12” deep for water lilies…16 to 24” is ideal. (Zone 7-Long Island) It is NOT a good practice to drain the pool frequently to clean it. Many aids are available instead and a general cleaning in the spring is usually all that is needed. Recirculating the water with fountains or waterfalls provides the pleasant addition of animation. We recommend adding a filter unit to the recirculating pump for removal of suspended particles in the water and simplifying maintenance.After killing frost, trim foliage from hardy plants and lower the planting containers to the bottom of the pool. If there is danger of hardy stock freezing in your pool, remove the containers to a cool, but not freezing, enclosed area. Cover with moist material and plastic bags. Cleaning your pond. Some pond owners, however, choose to clean their ponds. It is a good idea to hand-net any debris, leaves, grass clippings, etc. from the surface throughout the season. A certain amount of sediment will accumulate at the bottom of the pond from dead algae, fish waste, aquatic plants, etc. Remember that a fish and lily pond is not a sterile swimming pool. The ecology of a pond will create sediment as organisms grow and die. Generally this fine sediment is not harmful to the fish and plants. In time, sediment can build up; it is then that you may want to pump out and clean the pond.

Gardening Tips & Advice:

Fish Tips Here are a few tips for your pond in the winter. Fish can live and die at any time of the year. Following these guidelines does not guarantee that your fish will live, but it can increase their chances. People usually think of the winter as being hard on fish. In fact, the winter can be less stressful on fish than the summer. Why? During the winter, the water temperature of a pond generally does not fluctuate as it does in the summer. Many parasites and fungi die or are dormant in the cold water also. Cooler water is usually richer in oxygen levels. This all helps reduce stress on fish. Surface ice, however, can be both a problem and a blessing. The ice can cut off oxygen to a pond. Although fish can live under the ice for a while, factors such as thickness of ice, duration of total ice cover, the size and amount of fish in the pond, and size of the pond all can determine the danger to fish. Larger fish require more oxygen than smaller ones, and usually will be the first to die if oxygen levels fall to low levels. The ice can be beneficial in that it can offer protection from predators such as raccoons, blue herons and egrets. In mild winters with less ice cover, a pond can be an open target for these animals.

Tips: Cover the pond with a net in the fall to keep leaves out! Decaying tree leaves form methane gas, which can harm or kill your fish, and also cause a low pH. Keep a hole in the ice with a thermostatically controlled deicer, air pump, or submersible pump running close to the surface of the pond. This "hole" will allow oxygen in and allow some harmful gasses to escape if you didn't keep all the leaves out. Your fish will never starve in an outdoor pond. DO NOT FEED YOUR FISH IN THE WINTER. After mid to end of November, stop feeding them. Even if it's a mild winter. It is difficult for fish to digest food in cooler temps', and ammonia they produce will build up in the water. This is because most of the nitrifying bacteria and plants that live off the waste are dormant in the winter also. Begin feeding around mid to late April.

Spring / Summer tips:

If you are going to clean your pond out, here are some tips. It is best to clean your pond in the early/mid Spring when water and weather temperatures are below 75F. Pump out water from the pond into a holding container(s) such as a lined garbage can or kiddy pool. It will be easier to net your fish with less water in the pond. Keep your fish in the prepared containers, cover with a net (they may jump; to protect from animals)and circulate the water to add oxygen. Pump remaining water from pond. Scoop or wet-vac all the sludge on the bottom of the pond. Spray the sides down. If you scrub the sides clean, the beneficial algae/bacteria you remove will grow back anyway, so it is best to leave it. As you re-fill the pond with tap water, add a de-chlorinator / water conditioner. Before you introduce the fish back to the new water, check to see if the H2O temperatures are within 5F of each other. You can add some of the old water back in too. Your fish may go through some stress and hang out together at the bottom. Usually it takes a few days before they get used to the new environment. Expect an algae bloom a week or two later so get your bio filter, UV light, and floating plants going to help reduce the green. Summer heat Keep your pond oxygenated in the summer. Running a waterfall, fountainhead, and an air-pump can all be beneficial. Don't overpopulate your fish pond. The warmer it is, the less oxygen water will hold, and the more active your fish will be, so they will use more oxygen. In extreme heat waves, trickle some cool tap water into the pond to keep the water temperature down, but be sure to add de-chlorinator if you change 25% or more of water.

Feeding Fish :

Your fish will never starve in an outdoor pond, but you can train them to come to the surface if you feed them on a schedule. Feed them no more than once a day- what they can eat in a few minutes. If you must feed them more, give them less food each time. The more you feed your fish, the more waste they produce, and this can lead to high ammonia and/or constant green water. Fish use more oxygen when they are eating, therefore it is recommended not to feed them when water temperatures are above 85F or so.

Plant Tips:

Algae control. As the weather and water warm up in the spring, you may get an initial algae-bloom. This is evident by the water turning green. Algae is a plant and lives off nutrients in the water. Some of these nutrients are found in tap water or can accumulate in the pond over the winter. In There are ways to combat excess algae. 1. Plants! Algae is a plant and thrives on the nutrients and sunlight in your pond. Water lilies, floating plants, bog plants, oxygenators will help shade the water and use up some of the same nutrients that the algae grow on! 2. Ultraviolet sterilizer. This unit goes on the outside of the pond. The greenpond water is pumped through the unit where it is exposed to UV light. Over a period of time (usually 1-2 weeks) running constantly, it will kill most of the water-borne algae. 3. Biological filter. Our biological filter uses lava rock (which is porous and can catch dirt and debris) or plastic “bio-balls” and plants. Again, the plants help in using up the nutrients – actually competing with algae for growth. If left alone, natural bacteria can form, breaking down nutrients which the algae grow on. Bacteria can also be purchased and added to the biological filter to speed up this process. We DO NOT suggest the use of algaecides. Many chemicals that kill algae also kill aquatic plants.

 

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